Skin cancer surgery

Post-Operative Care:

Usually after biopsies or excisions there are rarely problems. But if concerned please contact us on 8276 6288

Bleeding: It is relatively common to have a little bleeding after the surgery - it may occur if the area is knocked or stretched and should stop if moderate continuous pressure is applied directly over the wound for 10 minutes (by the clock). The area should be elevated - sit up if on a face, hold up if an arm or leg is involved. If bleeding persists, please contact the rooms on 8276 6288 – all hours.

Pain: The pain of a small cut and bruise is expected. Panadol or Panadeine might be needed and is usually enough. By keeping the operated area elevated to avoid swelling, pain can also be reduced.

Dressing Changes:

The areas will be covered with tape. The tape should be left until stitches are removed – if soiled and unsightly, the tape can be taken off and covered again with more tape. Cuts in the hair should be shampooed carefully daily.

Suture Removal:

Please check that you have arrangements made for suture removal. This usually occurs between 5 and10 days after your surgery – the timing is of this appointment is dependant upon the area the lesion has been removed from.


The wound should feel better as the days pass - if it gets more painful, or redness develops an infection is likely and should be reported to 8276 6288.

Skin Grafts

Split Skin Grafts

  • A thin layer of skin has been shaved from the donor site - which will heal much like a graze does. It has been placed on the wound and will heal in place if left undisturbed.
  • The initial few days of skin graft nutrition is through absorbed serum and then small blood vessels grow into the graft.
  • Healing will not succeed if the graft moves on the bed, or if blood clots appear under it.
  • If the skin graft is on your leg, standing still is strongly discouraged. Careful short walks can be done.
  • Please leave the dressing undisturbed until it is removed by nursing staff at your follow up appointment.

Full Thickness Skin Grafts

  • These heal much like split skin grafts - but will usually be sewn in place and will usually have a dressing sewn onto them.
  • Please leave the dressing undisturbed until it is removed at your follow up appointment.

Scar Quality:

  • Best quality can be achieved supporting the wound with medical tape for 6 weeks after the surgery. Please discuss this with the surgeon/nurse.
  • In some instances a product called Cica-Care is used to improve the quality of scarring.


- Philip A. Griffin, FRACS